community college

American Families Plan outlines investments for human side of nation’s competitiveness

In 2014, Tennessee’s Republican governor, Bill Haslam, created the nation’s first program to ensure high school graduates could attend community and technical college tuition-free, Tennessee Promise.  While several states have followed suit in one form or another, President Joe Biden wants to take the concept nationwide with the federal government footing $109 billion of the bill through his American Families Plan.

$2.5 million accelerator fund to invest in community colleges

A new Community College Growth Engine Fund is being launched by Education Design Lab to help mitigate the growing skills gap and strengthen community colleges as drivers of innovation between education and employment. Education Design Lab is a national nonprofit that designs, implements and scales new learning models for higher education and the future of work.

Free tuition offerings continue to evolve in states across the US

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham became the latest governor to propose a plan for free tuition, with what has been called the “one of the most ambitious attempts to make higher education more accessible.” If approved, the plan would allow in-state students to attend any of the 29 state public colleges or universities, regardless of income. It is designed as a “last-dollar” program.

Community colleges named in college excellence program

Two community colleges in Florida became the winners of the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, which recognizes high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. Winners were Indian River State College (IRSC) ($350,000) in Fort Pierce, Florida, and Miami Dade College ($350,000) in Miami; Odessa College and Palo Alto College in Texas and Pierce College in Washington were named as Rising Stars ($100,000 each).

Pathways in overcoming barriers to completion for community college students explored

As the nation faces a tight labor market and industries scramble to find employees with the right skills to fill open positions, community colleges that are closely connected to a region’s economy play a key role in helping to fill that pipeline. However, the challenges facing students at community colleges often result in many not completing a degree or certificate. A report released this month by The Brookings Institution noted that less than 40 percent of community college students earn a certificate or degree within six years of enrollment. The report’s author, Elizabeth Mann Levesque, explored ways to address both structural and motivational barriers in completing community college. The barriers are real, said two community college administrators SSTI spoke with about the problem, yet the successes they see and innovative efforts some community colleges are taking to help their students are beginning to pay off.

NASA awards $1.4M to help minority-serving colleges develop new STEM courses

NASA has indicated it is facing broad, workforce-related challenges that can have a negative impact on programs over the long run; over half of its workforce is more than 50 years old, for instance. One recent announcement from its Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) may be a small step to help address some of those challenges.

States launch more help for students in completing education

North Carolina and Tennessee are implementing new initiatives to get students in their states the help they need to either complete degrees or training that will help improve workforce development in those states. North Carolina’s governor recently added a new line of grants dubbed “Finish Line” grants, to help students that are struggling with non-academic problems complete community college.

College mergers a prescription in meeting higher ed headaches

Declining enrollments, higher costs and limited state funding continue to challenge higher education institutions, and possible mergers continue to surface as an option to meeting those challenges. In Pennsylvania, a new study sponsored by the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee identifies options to help ensure the sustainability of the State System of Higher Education, and mergers factor into those considerations.

CA community colleges facing greater role; questions

California’s efforts to grow the role of its community colleges (CCs) was reinforced with the governor’s recent budget request to establish a fully online public community college, while a report reviewing the state’s established pilot program to offer baccalaureate degrees at some CCs presented some serious questions.

California online community college proposed

Community colleges continuing trend to offer four-year degrees

This past summer Ohio joined a growing number of states that allow community colleges to offer four-year degrees when it enacted legislation allowing community colleges, state community colleges, and technical colleges to apply to offer applied bachelor’s degrees. If approved, the programs will join a growing number of applied baccalaureate degree programs being offered by community colleges across the country. The trend has met with resistance from some higher education institutions, while students and employers voice their support.

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